Not too upset with yesterday’s rushed affair as the first three at Newmarket were among the first three on the shortlist; just wrong decision making that’s all! Let’s hope it’s better today, although it’s been yet another disrupted day for one reason and another, which is why there’s only a single race!
Newmarket 13.50 Cl 2 Hcap 311 (100) gd – 15 Run
Last year – 311 (101) gd/fm 12 ran
Frontiersman 5/2 F 4-9-10 (101) Dr 1 by 2.5l from Top Tug 25/1 6-9-7 (98) Dr 7
Duke Of Bronte 4-9-9 (99) Dr 13
12 Apr Cl 2 Hcap (162 u) 10f AW Chelm (100) 8/1 0.2l 1/9 off 93
Held up in touch in midfield, ridden over 3f out, stayed on under pressure over 1f out and challenged 100yds out, stayed on well under pressure to lead on post
Unraced at 2yo, but won 3 of his 10 starts as a 3yo, including a valuable 12f hcap at Ascot in September; gained his first AW success at third attempt recording a career best over an inadequate 10f at Chelmsford on his return last month; raised 6lbs for that, but likely to have more to give returned to 12f on turf.
Plus: class (W); going (F); distance (W); course (F); trainer (14d); form run lto (24 days); career best lto;
Minus: up 6lbs;
Verdict: (51) likely to show improvement returned to this trip on turf and a definite contender.
Celestial Spheres 4-9-7 (97) Dr 6
05 Mar Cl 2 Hcap (120 u) 12f AW Wolv (108) 11/8 F 0.5l 2/7 off 95
Chased leader until ridden to lead over 2f out, driven and hard pressed 1f out, headed and kept on same pace well inside final furlong
Gelded after finishing his 2yo career by taking a 9f mdn in September 2016, but just the 2 starts last season, midfield at Doncaster in April and taking a 10f hcap here in November; further success one the AW over the winter though, twice winning over 12f at Lingfield and then recording another career best as runner-up when raised to this level at Wolverhampton in March; raised 2lbs for that, but has to prove he can win at this level back on turf.
Plus: class (F); going (F); distance (W); course (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto; career best lto;
Minus: up 2lbs; 62-day break;
Verdict: (45) improving sort likely to build on disrupted 3yo season and can go well after a break, so a contender.
The Grand Visir 4-9-1 (91) Dr 2
Won on his debut at Yarmouth and May last year and was also a C&D winner here on gd/sf in July, following up by finishing a credible 5/19 in the Melrose at York in late August; however, looked to have gone over the hill when a disappointing favourite back over 14f at York in mid-October; with only 6 career starts likely more to come, although may prove better over further.
Plus: class (F); going (F); distance (W); course (W); trainer (14d); trainer (C);
Minus: 205-day break;
Verdict: (43) won on debut last year and stable in good form, but question starting season over this trip when he may need further, so not the strongest contender.
[b]Reshoun [/b]4-9-4 (94) Dr 8
28 Oct Cl 2 Hcap (129 u) 12f gd/sf Donc (95) 3/1 3.75l 1/9 off 86
Held up in rear, smooth headway over 3f out, chased leader well over 1f out, ridden to lead approaching final furlong, kept on strongly
Mid-season French import who got off the mark this side of the Channel with a career best over this trip on gd/sf at Doncaster at the end of October; starts this season off an 8lbs higher mark, but there could be more to come this time round.
Plus: class (W); going (F); distance (W); trainer (14d); form run lto; career best lto;
Minus: course; up 8lbs; 190-day break;
Verdict: (43) could well have more to give this season, but break and doubts about the better ground means he’s a contender with questions.
Adamant 4-9-0 (90) Dr 12
21 Apr Cl 3 Hcap (78 u) 10f gd/sf Newb (90) 11/2 F 0.25l 2/16 off 86
Midfield towards pushed along over 3f out, steady headway, ridden inside final furlong, strong run final 110yds, gaining at finish
Lightly raced 4yo who showed the rise to this trip will likely suit when running on to nearly catch Lunar Jet over 10f in a career best at Newbury a fortnight back; will likely have come on for that outing and with only 4 starts to his name surely has scope for further improvement.
Plus: trainer (14d); trainer (C); form run lto (15 days); career best lto;
Minus: class (?); going (?); distance (?); course (?); up 4lbs; up in class;
Verdict: (33) unproven in many categories, but 2/4 win rate and latest effort suggest he’s a strong contender today.
A race exclusively won by 4yo (6) and 5yo (4) and I see no reason for that to change this year as the 4yos look to have a strong hand. Although Frontiersman last year and Times UP in 2011 both carried 9-10 to victory, plus had triple digit marks, none of the remaining winners has carried more than 9-1. Only two winners were making their seasonal returns, and while stalls 1 and 2 have supplied 3 winners, the remaining 7 had double digit draws. Yet for all that, no winner started at longer odds than 12/1.
Applying that I shall overlook bottom weight Maori Bob, although he is an improving sort who might run better than his price. I’m also passing on top weight Wolf Country who hasn’t run since Meydan in February, nor does the 5yo UAE Prince make my shortlist for this trip, plus being a season returner.
Meanwhile, turning to those who did make the list, Reshoun is the first to go, while I’m not sure that Celestial Spheres can win over this trip on turf. I also have the feeling that The Grand Visir might prove better over further, so that leaves me with Duke Of Bronte and Adamant. I can see the argument for Adamant, but he’s a little short in price for what he’s accomplished to date, so I’m going for Duke Of Bronte from Adamant with The Grand Visir perhaps a danger if the low drawn horses comes to the fore.
Any comments on today's racing. Please don't just put in selections ... please add some reason why you think a runner will win
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